Empress Of, the brainchild of 23 year-old singer-songwriter/producer Lorely Rodriguez, headlined Music Hall of Williamsburg this past Sunday in support of her debut LP, Me, out now via Terrible Records and XL Recordings. Despite having written, produced, and recorded the entire album herself last year in Mexico City, Empress Of performed her brief but brilliantly arranged set with a two-man band, positioned centerstage, and fixated on her vocal duties.
Much like Rodriguez, opening act Abra performed with an ease that seemed to defy her youthful appearance. The artist’s simple, spare electronic productions sounded fuller and more vibrant than any of the songs on her debut LP, Rose. But Abra’s saccharine-sweet vocals were the real show-stealer, showcasing a level of skill and dynamism that’s yet to be revealed in her recorded output.
Empress Of kicked off her set with an exhilarating rendition of the 2013 one-off single “Realize You.” After her opening number, the Brooklyn native artist was confronted with a packed venue going absolutely nuts over her music. But she remained modest, nearly moved to tears, in response to the overwhelming praise. The rest of the set touched on her newly dropped full-length—tracks like “Standard,” “Everything Is You,” “Water Water,” and “Need Myself.” Midway through the set, though, Empress Of played the Spanish-language joint “Tristeza” off her 2013 Systems EP. The night’s most enthralling performance came during the penultimate number, when Rodriguez ran through the sexy, slinky jazz-house of “How Do You Do It.” But her closing song was also a striking moment: Empress Of performed Me‘s lead single “Kitty Kat” alongside Dev Hynes on electric guitar. It was lit.